American Medical Temperance Association: Discover Its Origin and Goals

The American Medical Temperance Association was formed in 1891. Sixty-one physicians attending the annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) that year met and adopted a constitution and by-laws.

The group stated its purpose to be ‘the practice of total abstention in and through the medical profession, and the promotion of investigations as to the action of alcohol in health and disease.’1 Membership required total abstention. But members were free to use alcohol as a medicine at their discretion.

American Medical Temperance Association
Dr. John H. Kellogg

In 1893, the eccentric Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of the Battle Creek Sanitarium joined the Association. He  was the originator of the corn flakes that still carry his name. Dr. Kellogg began publishing the quarterly Bulletin of the American Medical Temperance Association. It was published until the Association joined with the American Association for the Study and Cure of Inebriety. At that time, it was merged into the Journal of Inebriety.

It held its annual meetings at the same time and place as those of the AMA. By 1904 membership had grown to 150. It then joined with the American Association for the Study and Cure of Inebriety.

The new organization was the American Medical Society for the Study of Alcohol and Other Narcotics. Publication of the Journal of Inebriety ceased in 1914. Membership continued declining and the Association gradually fell into oblivion.

Resources

Davis, N. Address on the object of the American Medical Temperance Association. JAMA, 1892, 19(2), 29-32.

Bulletin of the American Medical Temperance Association.

American Medical Temperance Quarterly. Battle Creek, MI: Modern Med.

Reference

1 Cherrington, E., et al (eds.) Standard Encyclopedia of the Alcohol Problem, v. 1. Westerville, OH: Am Issue, 1925, p. 156.